Scrambling to soften the impact of HBO's Leaving Neverland, which alleges that Michael Jackson sexually abused two children, the late singer's estate has been informing the media of its many concerns about the credibility of the film and its stars, accusers James Safechuck and Wade Robson.
The estate recently provided Billboard with a 24-page working PowerPoint document, titled "Leaving Neverland and the Truth," that questions the accusers' memories and the filmmakers' motives in detail. The estate also attached recent news clips in which the singer's defense attorney, Thomas Mesereau Jr. called the charges "hogwash."
HBOs Leaving Neverland doesnt really occupy itself with Michael Jacksons character, only with the damage he caused
The document, not intended for publication, details what the estate says are dozens of examples in the documentary of bias, inconsistency and footage taken out of context. In the film, for example, Robson says Jackson invited him to sleep in his bed, but "in his deposition," the material states, "he makes clear that he and his sister were the ones who initiated the idea, and that Michael insisted they ask their parents." The film also portrays Jackson wishing Robson a happy birthday in a video "suggesting a creepy, predatory manner," when he recorded numerous similar greetings around the same time, the estate notes. Other concerns: the director "audibly coached" Robson at one point in an interview; the film neglects to mention Robson's attempts to find work with Cirque du Soleil's tribute shows after Jackson's death; and Jackson's defense attorney Mark Geragos appears to be threatening an accuser in a 2005 clip shown in the movie — but the estate says the clip was pulled from a press conference from unrelated litigation involving a charter-jet company.
"The quotes are taken out of context and no effort was made to clarify," notes the estate, which sued HBO before the film's wide debut for violating a 1992 nondisparagement clause. (The network didn't comment.)
But an estate representative says few media outlets have expressed interest in its grievances with the film.
Leaving Neverland Lawsuit Proves to Be a Judicial Hot Potato
"Much of this information is available online, and we have sent various pieces to the media, but no one has really been interested in reporting on it [or] digging further than the documentary," the estate rep told Billboard.
Mesereau, in an interview with Billboard, said the Leaving Neverland accusations were reminiscent of Jackson's 2004-05 child-molestation trial, when "the entire world was condemning him and no one thought we could get a fair trial." A jury found Jackson not guilty of all charges. (Ron Zonen, the retired prosecutor who helped bring Jackson to trial in 2004, says the defense attorney is "preserving his own legacy.")
In an interview, estate attorneys were equally keen to point out inconsistencies. The night before Robson testified for the defense during the 2005 trial, he said in Leaving Neverland, Jackson looked upset at a dinner. But Jackson's nephew Taj and others who were present said the dinner took place after the testimony.
He spoke to Express Online about concerns over the very one-sided nature of the documentary and says it deliberately obscured or avoided major facts about the financial interests of both accusers, including the fact that both owe “significant” sums to the Jackson estate.
"That whole story is made-up fiction," says Jonathan Steinsapir, one of the estate's attorneys. Adds his partner, Howard Weitzman: "It's hard to tell what the impact [of the documentary] will be. What is clear is people are drawing conclusions without knowing all the facts. They're depending on a documentary that we know is not completely accurate."
In fact, Michael could come up again at this years HOF induction. Janet Jacksons going into the Hall and theres a lot of speculation about whether shell mention her brother and the Neverland allegations. Its going down March 29 at Brooklyns Barclays Center.
Paris Jackson Responds to Controversial Leaving Neverland Doc
Vince Finaldi, attorney for Robson and Safechuck, explains that misremembering small details is normal for child victims of abuse: "They can try and nitpick little things — 'Was he sitting on the left or the right side of the car?' If you understand the mechanics of sexual abuse, kids are not remembering insignificant details, but they have a vivid memory of what happened to them."
2005: Michael Jackson walks away from the Santa Barbara County courthouse in Santa Maria, Calif. June 13, 2005 a free man after a jury found him guilty on all 10 counts the pop singer faced. (Contra Costa Times/Karl Mondon)
MJs two slots in the HOF will stay put and wont be removed or altered in any way … despite the allegations made in HBOs doc about the singer. The reason is simple … according to an HOF official — music is music is music.
2004: Michael Jackson is shown in a Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department booking mug shot on Thursday Nov. 20, 2003, in Santa Barbara, Calif. Jackson is scheduled to be arraigned on January, 9, 2004 at the Superior Court in Santa Barbara. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Dept.)
1993: US pop star and entertainer Micheal Jackson dines with Prince Albert of Monaco during the 5th World Music Awards on May 11, 1993 in Monaco. Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009 after suffering a cardiac arrest, sending shockwaves sweeping across the world and tributes pouring in on June 26 for the tortured music icon revered as the "King of Pop." (GERARD JULIEN/AFP/GettyImages)
Its interesting … a childrens museum in Indianapolis recently removed three pieces of MJ memorabilia items in the wake of Wade Robson and James Safechucks claims.
Michael Jackson Will Remain In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
1986: Michael Jackson sits with Elizabeth Taylor at the horse races at Hollywood Park. The glamorous queen of American movie stardom, whose achievements as an actress were often overshadowed by her rapturous looks and real-life dramas, died early Wednesday, March 23, 2011, of congestive heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said publicist Sally Morrison. She was 79. (Los Angles Times/MCT)
But in the past Culkin has defended Jackson against charges of being a serial sexual predator. Culkin, now 38, has said he became friends with Jackson when he was a 9-year-old child star. He said Jackson also invited him to stay at Neverland Ranch and to share his bed multiple times when he was ages 9 to 14.
But in interviews and at Jackson’s 2005 criminal trial, Culkin said Jackson was never inappropriate with him.
“Seriously, he was like my best friend for a good long stretch,” Culkin said in a 2018 interview with Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, adding, It was a legitimate friendship.
But the “Home Alone” star finally made a public reference to the “Leaving Neverland” allegations, the Daily Mail reported. Culkin did so by seemingly to joke about the idea that Jackson was sexual predator during a live presentation of his Bunny Ears Podcast at a West Hollywood Club on Tuesday night.
Culkin also made the reference while Jackson’s 20-year-old daughter, Paris, was in the audience. Culkin regards himself as Paris Jackson’s godfather.
According to the Daily Mail, Culkin was interviewing singer-songwriter and satirist Weird Al Yankovic on stage when he jokingly asked: “Im going to ask you a very serious question: What was your relationship like with Michael Jackson?”
After details of Michael Jacksons alleged sexual abuse against children were revealed in the documentary, the 2,700-acre property in California had its price slashed from $100 million in 2015 to $31 million as of this week, yet its been noted that theres still not any prospective buyers.
Yankovic chuckled, “Um, mostly platonic. I met him two or three times, he was pretty sweet to me.”
The Daily Mail and the Sun reported that Culkin also burst into “giggles” before replying: “Sounds amazing, he sounds really cool, yeah …”
Culkin added to Yankovic: “I will say he was a huge, huge fan of yours. Yes, he always had your videos kind of playing constantly. There you go, validation. Praise. Hail, Caesar!”
Jackson originally bought the property back in 1988, yet for decades its become a symbol of Jacksons tainted legacy involving the alleged abuse.
Last night at @largolosangeles was incredible. Thanks to @the_cooties and @alfredyankovic for coming out and killing it on stage. And thanks to all who attended. If you missed this one you missed something special, but it went well so expect more live shows in LA and possibly a small City tour.
Paris Jackson has not reacted agressively in public to Leaving Neverland, the HBO documentary that lays out a devasting case that her father Michael sexually abused young boys.
Related Articles Ask Amy: My 7-year-old is enamored with Michael Jackson. What do I tell him? Meanwhile, the Sun reported that Paris Jackson sat in a corner with boyfriend Gabriel Glenn and smoked. She “just kept her head down scrolling through her phone,” an eyewitness told the Sun.
What Will Happen To Micheal Jacksons Walk of Fame Star, Wax Figures after Leaving Neverland?
The eyewitness added that Paris Jackson spoke to no one, while Glenn looked downcast before the couple snuck backstage with Culkin’s girlfriend, Brenda Song.
It has been a tumultuous few weeks for Paris Jackson since “Leaving Neverland” aired March 3 and 4. The model and actress reportedly was taken to the hospital Saturday morning for a reported suicide attempt, which TMZ reported was brought about because she was despondent about how the two-part documentary portrays her father.
Michael Jackson biographer hits out at Leaving Neverland accuser
In the documentary, Wade Robson and James Safechuck go into graphic and emotionally harrowing detail about how they were young boys when they were brought into the music icons orbit, then regularly abused by him from roughly the ages of 7 until 14.
Like Culkin, Paris Jackson also has not publicly addressed Robson and Safechuck’s claims, saying her cousin Taj Jackson, the family’s designated spokesperson, was doing a “perfect job” of refuting them. But she has sparred with her father’s fans on social media for not doing enough herself to defend his reputation.
Paris Jackson also has sparred with TMZ and other news outlets that reported on her alleged suicide attempt. After being released from the hospital later Saturday, Paris Jackson slammed those reports via Twitter, writing, “(expletive) you you (expletive) liars.”
But the reports continued, with TMZ saying that her loved ones have urged her to enter rehab following the alleged suicide attempt, only to have her balk at the idea.
The Blast reported that Paris Jackson has gone out every night since the alleged suicide attempt. She also was photographed by paparazzi when she and Glenn arrived at the Largo at the Coronet for Culkin’s show. She was wearing pink bunny ears, likely to display support for the podcast.
What John Branca Is Doing to Save the Jackson Legacy After Leaving Neverland
In response to all the scrutiny, Paris Jackson tweeted Monday, “this past week its been nonstop (expletive) im so sick of it.”